Photo: andreasnilsson1976 (flickr)
Ever notice how sports fans insist on talking as if they’re one of the players when all you do is watch the games on TV?
It could be that cheering a particular team gives them an identity and sense of belonging. They are defining themselves as part of a group. Even if the team loses, the fans watch every game with just as much enthusiasm as the last.
The psychological benefit of being part of a group is more important than whether a team wins. The real fans are those who keep rooting for their teams even when they lose. After all, another function of a group is to stick together and protect its members in the face of adversity. Rooting for a losing team increases your sense of allegiance to the group.